In Home Decorating Ideas From Mardi Gras

Things I Learned From a Trip to Mardi Gras

Years ago, we took a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, where I came home with more in home decorating ideas than beads! Let me explain.

home decor beads on a fence

I always get tons of inspiration when we travel. Not only from actual rooms I might see in the hotel or out shopping, but from the general feel of the place I’m visiting. I love to check out local architecture, shops, even a local gallery wall. They all bring inspiration and personal style to a region. Seeing all the Mardi Gras references this week made me think of it, and I thought I could share a bit of what I learned.

Mardi Gras parades are full of color!

If you have never visited New Orleans, especially during Mardi Gras, you are in for a wild ride! The funny thing is, we are non-drinkers (meaning literally no alcohol) so I am pretty sure we were the only ones not intoxicated in the city during all the festivities. And festivities there were! From parades, and parties, the colors of Mardi Gras filled the entire space of every place we went. And don’t even get me started on the craziness of Bourbon Street!

partying on Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street one night. It was crazy. The actor, Will Ferrell, was up on a balcony and threw me some beads! I didn’t even have to show him my boobs LOL (as is the custom)!

Visual Interest

There is so much visual interest in a place like New Orleans, and so much history. My ancestry is rooted in the city and it was great to finally visit the place my mother’s family has deep roots. Seeing it made all the difference for me, and from an interior designer perspective, I could not get enough! It’s all very French.

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In Home Decorating Ideas

5 tips for home decor

Here are the 5 main home decor ideas (or thought processes) I learned while I was there.

Be Bold

NOLA (New Orleans, LA as it’s called) is not a shy place. It is full of life! It is bold color and crazy decorative elements, and it is over the top fun! (Can I use more exclamation marks?) Every place we went had some color that was statement making. Most of the homes I saw in the city, this boldness started at the front door. There seemed to be no light colors, everything was bright and energetic and it made us feel alive. 

Thinking of interior design, it also made me pause. I am not a shy person, and I do appreciate rooms that serve double duty as great design and a relaxing soul enriching space. But could I live with such bright colors? Then it occurred to me, being bold is not just about ‘in your face’ color. Being bold is also about how you make your space feel, and being bold enough to NOT FOLLOW trends but to do what you love!

bold art in home decorating ideas
A storefront window in a gallery. Gotta love a good gallery wall!

Be confident to be you!

In this world of amazing design at every Instagram swipe, are we caught up in copying what someone else is doing? Or are we bold enough to live as we really want? My mantra of ‘buying what you truly love’ to make your room feel like you, is a beginning to being bold!

Sometimes bold could mean making big changes. In this current home we are in, the powder room was so tiny that I could barely fit into it. This was the only bathroom for guests to comfortably use, how had so many people lived in this house and left it that way? Bold was saying, “we are tearing apart this room, and closets and built in cabinets that don’t work, and making it work for us and how we want to live”. Bold would make living easier in that space.

home decor ideas powder room

Be Yourself

With all the riot of color in NOLA, I began to really notice the small details everywhere we went. There were spaces with beautiful wood paneling, amazing decorative objects, deep rich hardwood floors from generations, and art everywhere. I was really soaking up all the personal interpretation of rooms, and realized how beautiful it is to have a variety that is you. As humans, we have many layers, and so should rooms.

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Interested in a minimalist space? Go for it! Want black paint on your wall and ceiling? Why not? If that will tell everyone more about you in your space, then I say ‘you do YOU’! If you love warm tones, versus bright color, then embrace that and make your living rooms the place that you and your loved ones will feel comfortable. Add those bold stripes on a wall, if that is what you saw at a restaurant and loved.

A very personal space, in our last house. Includes inherited furniture and vintage art, trinkets from travels, things found at flea markets and items that make this space feel personal.

Home is the scrapbook of your life

When I say “home is the scrapbook of your life” I really mean that, nothing is more important than having your history on full display in your living spaces. This doesn’t mean that your whole room will become a museum to your life journey and everywhere you have been, but rather a space that creates the feeling of true self. Yes, there will be treasures from along the way. But art should be meaningful to you, and heirlooms if you have them, bring along the history of you.

We gain feelings and ideas throughout our journey in life, and these things can influence your style. When we see something we love, whether it be a great ceiling treatment or style of furniture, those things speak to us. Listen to what you have been drawn to and bring those elements into your home to create a style that is truly you. If you want to know more about my journey, check out this blog post.

blue and white kitchen

Be Fabulous

Being fabulous isn’t just about choosing the perfect design scheme. It is definitely a feeling and confidence to following what you love. 

Especially if you are concerned about being budget friendly. I have found that the times my budget was restricted, were the times I needed to be the most creative. Sometimes a restricted budget really forces you to think outside the box, and create something fabulous. You need more art in your life! Not art as what you are actually hanging on your wall, but art in the sense of creating something that is YOU and FABULOUS. 

my very colorful home office
Not perfect quite yet, but this home office is a work in progress. I throw things in here I really love and that are truly me, and it just all speaks to me when I work here.

Don’t be afraid to create what truly speaks to you. Expert tips are not needed, just follow your heart, and your fabulous self can emerge! This is really the flair that NOLA is all about. You don’t need the Instagram decorating gods to tell you what to have in your space. You don’t need everything to color coordinate. What you need is some confidence, to trust your gut and do what you love!

Have a Party 

No lie, Mardi Gras is literally an ongoing party that the entire city embraces that goes on for weeks. But having a party is just the thing you need to find out how you want to share your space with others. 

party decorating
What the streets look like after a parade night. Miraculously, they are all clear in the morning!

Trust me, I have had my fair amount of parties over the years. Each time I do, I always ask myself why I don’t do that more often? I love seeing how friends and family mingle within our entire space, moving from kitchen to living room and beyond. Having the dining room table full of good food and conversation warms my heart, and I feel alive in those rooms.

How do things function?

A party will give you the chance to see how and if your home is functioning properly. Is the coffee table the right height or large enough? Are there places for someone to safely set a drink? Is the powder room guest ready? Is the dining table large enough and does the space feel welcoming? Put your interior design hat on for a hot minute, and look around to notice these things while your guests move about. Is there anything that needs to be tweaked in your living room or dining area to make it more welcoming?

That is one of the reasons I love travel. If you notice good hotel design, you can see that guests know just where to gather. The way furniture is placed, and where paths lead are well thought out in these public spaces. What can you notice and incorporate in your own home?

in home decorating ideas
A fabulous ceiling design in the Hyatt I the Dominican Republic. This hotel was so beautiful!

Even if you have a small room, the room can feel welcoming. Do the pathways lead your guest to a great outdoor space or more living rooms where they can seek comfort? Do those spaces have a focal point that reveal to your guest anything about you? Be bold, be yourself, and be fabulous. Then when you have a little get together, you would have created spaces that people will feel comfortable in and love, because they already know and love you.

Be Weird

I have to say, this is one of my favorites. When I think back on all the places we have been, rooms I have seen, I always remember the ones that had something a bit weird. Clearly I’m not suggesting anything super offensive, or fetish revealing, but rather something with a bit of humor that can liven up a space. We all are weird in our own way, and those differences is what makes the world beautiful to me. Weird is simply something different than you might normally see, and something a bit ‘off’ can really jazz things up. 

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It might be a fun mural painted on a wall space, or kitchen cabinets painted a bold color (hot pink anyone?) It could be a room with the floor, walls, ceiling all covered in a pattern or weird art displayed on a gallery wall. Home decor should be personal, so however you see and interpret your version of “weird” is what you can follow.

Weird doesn’t have to be ‘weird’

For some, just having the floor, ceiling, and walls all painted in the same color could be considered weird where that is someone else’s normal. Start in a small space, like an art niche, and try your weird and different there. Small spaces are a great place to get creative. Painting your front door in a bolder than normal choice for you could be your one weird thing. It might give a peek into that fun side of you.

in home decorating ideas
My little bit of weirdos that bust of David in the background, watching over the room. He started out terracotta and looked like a giant chia pet when I got him. A bit of paint and shimmer, and now he can be the creepy guy watching everyone in the corner!

Don’t be afraid to switch things, move your rooms around if that works better for you, and make your home decor more personal. You don’t need an interior designer telling you who you are. Tap into your weird, your unique fabulous self, and create a home that you and your loved ones will be comfortable in. Move the living area to the dining room, or make the dining room a library study, complete with a reading nook and cozy lighting. Dining rooms are not just for dining. 

Collect Home Decor Ideas You Love

You can be your own interior designer. Collect ideas you love, gain inspiration, then set them aside and make them your own. You can even start small by getting new hardware, or throw a new coat of paint on the walls. Make your house full of your style, with accessories that speak to what you love. Walls shouldn’t be left bare, they are waiting for an expression of YOU! Check out my Pinterest boards for some great home decor.

in home decorating ideas

And next time you visit a city that you love, take note! What can you learn from your surroundings? What decorating inspiration can you bring home and incorporate? Are there color schemes that could create a particular mood that would make you happy? Don’t forget to be bold!

Thanks so much for hanging out here with me. I love to talk home decor ideas with you, and help you create that statement making home that says, “come on in, and get to know me”. Read this post about being unique and creating personal style in your home.


  1. Cyndi, So glad you are here! As long as you have things in your home that you love, it will be authentically YOU and that is the most important thing. Don’t stress about getting through your boxes, it will happen. Maybe just give yourself a goal to go through one a day, and before you know it you will be done! I am a complete book and magazine hoarder myself, and it’s funny you should say that because I just scheduled a social media post about that for later today! LOL Thanks for writing, friend. Be fabulous, Jill

  2. You share wonderful advice and photographs! I love your comfy L-Shaped sofa and your repainted bust looks fabulous! You have a beautiful home, mine is kinda” Bono” with just loved items but I am running out of room since we moved to a new cabin in the woods, It could be beautiful when I ever get it de-cluttered with boxes holding what I have no more room for so I am donating as I can get to it. Hard to let go of many loved books and magazines, clothes, and general decorations. I got what I think is your first email referencing your blog and it was so entertaining! I printed your intro saying from “Dale Carnegie”, so inspiring! You are so much fun and friendly, I am glad you found me. I will watch for more “Bungalow 47” in the future! Smiles, Cyndi

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